“How To Cycle As Fast As That Other Guy / Girl, No Time To Train Also…. ” A Colloquial Chat Commonly Overheard At The Café During Sunday Club Rides…
It is an excuse that could be used by many, however it is a misconception that you actually need to commit many hours to training. With the existence of sports science studies as well as today’s technology, training hours can actually be cut down while getting it done effectively and productively.
I work full time, just as most of the people I race with. Every single one of us has managed to integrate training into our daily lives despite having to be at the workplace 8 hours a day as well as a family to take care of. Though, I’m the fortunate one in this case, having no girlfriend or wife and kids to take my training time away from me, yet. Efficient training allows me to be just as fast as some of the semi-professionals in the racing circuits, but this efficient training doesn’t mean that I do long rides only on the weekends. Studies have shown that riding more frequently but for a shorter duration benefits athletes more than riding a longer duration but less frequently. With high intensity interval training structures that’s taking the world by storm now, it’s no wonder that more amateurs are proving to be just as fast.
The turbo trainer, a tool used by many has developed a love-hate relationship with me. It has proven to be the best method to cramp in shorter sessions but with the option to crank up the intensity. My training plans during the weekdays consist of an hour on the turbo trainer (including warm up and cool down). If the weather isn’t too bad, given that most companies now have shower facilities or a gym nearby the office with a decent shower room; I would integrate the interval session into my bike commute to work, which is another great way of implementing training into daily lifestyle. Now some of you might complain that the weather will turn bad, or traffics will be terrible; remember this: excuses don’t win races.
A good friend of mine once said that there’s no such thing as bad weather, but wrong choice of kit.
As the season draws to a start, all that training and hard work should be meant for something, isn’t it? What better way to plan your training with a goal that you want to achieve in the season. Although we love our cycling and attempt to ride faster, training without a proper plan and setup will just overstrain the body and possibly leave you with a common case amongst triathletes – chronic fatigue.
Most training plans found on the internet are meant for over a period of time, for example 4-weeks or 6-weeks training plan to peak at the end of it. If you’re training to complete a century ride or to race in half-ironman, it would be a total different training plan from training to race a criterium or hill climb, for the intensity and type of training differs. The internet and books are great ways of knowing what type of training to do and what it improves, I suggest to do your research before blindly putting together a training plan with various intervals mixed up because that might not help at the end of the day. Also, it’s a good idea to read up on different types of muscles used for different types of riding. Long endurance cyclists require more slow-twitch muscles whereas sprinters require that fast-twitch muscles for sudden explosive power output. After all, different intervals help develop both types of muscles.
Most importantly, don’t forget to always enjoy your cycling. Try not to over-train and lose the love for cycling. Remember why you started in the first place. It’s a great feeling to just turn everything off and pedal on. I will be back next issue with more insights and tips on how to improve and go faster without actually spending (much) money!
He is a Malaysian living in the United Kingdom. He is usually found riding his bike in a skinsuit with a pointy helmet around Warwickshire or skiing the groomed pistes in the Dolomites during winter when he’s away from his day job as a Mechanical Engineering Lecturer in Coventry University, UK. He is still actively racing as an amateur for his local bike shop team, The Nuneaton Cyclery – Klin Cut Apparel. Chris is hoping to enlighten and inspire other young cyclists to keep the pedal turning, passion burning and improve their riding without losing the love for the sport.
Email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Facebook (Chris Yip), Twitter (@chrisyipkt)